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Pop Songs: Song Structure

Pop Songs: Song Structure

The below is taken from a chat board that is long since gone, and was part of a much larger post string.  I’ve aggregated the “good bits” to create an easier read and added a few embellishments here and there.  Thanks to Jason “The Millenial” for the great tips!


Pop Songs – Song Structure


While there are several popular structures used in pop music today, what they all have in common is that they provide a balance between repetition and new information.

A great song structure is designed to keep giving your listener something new, but also provide them with enough familiarity to keep them engaged.


Typical Parts of a Pop Song


Tells the story – answers “who, what where, when and why?”. Lyrics usually change from verse to verse, while the melody usually stays the same (though it is sometimes embellished upon slightly with each passing verse).
Pre-chorus or Channel
Also referred to as “the climb,” this element functions to build energy and lead the listener into the chorus.
Sums up the message of the song – answers the question “so what?”. Contains the song’s “hook”. Lyrics and melody usually stay the same in each chorus.
Provides lyrical and melodic contrast – usually by offering a different take on the situation, or something we haven’t heard before. Also provides a reason for leading the listener back to the final chorus.

This brings us to the most common song structure used today:

Verse –> Chorus –> Verse –> Chorus –> Bridge –> Chorus

It’s easy to see why this structure is the most common. It provides a perfect balance between new information (the verses) and the familiarity of the chorus.

And just when things might get a bit monotonous, the addition of a bridge provides the contrast needed to mix things up. But we still end with the familiarity of the chorus. Brilliant. If you’re new to songwriting and haven’t tried writing to a specific structure, try it out!”

You’ll notice that pop song structure isn’t any different from country songs – basically it’s the same discipline, it’s just applying it to a genre – so learn for one, learn for all!


Songwriting Exercise
Some other structures to try:

Verse –>  Verse –> Verse

Chorus –>  Verse  –>  Chorus  –>  Verse  –>  Chorus


More Articles:


Pop Songs: Lyrics

Pop Songs: Music & Melody

Melody Writing For Pop Songs


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